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Name:   John
Status:  other
Age:  50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000


Question:
I hope you can settle an argument. My friend claims that oxygen is combustable and I say it is not but has to be present for a fuel to burn. No fuel, no fire. Who's correct?


Replies:
John,

You win. Technically, combustion (burning) occurs when a substance reacts with oxygen to produce combustion (oxidation) products. Since oxygen atoms cannot react with themselves to produce anything except oxygen molecues or ozone molecules, oxygen does not burn. The nature of the reaction when oxygen forms ozone is different from the electron transfer which occurs in traditional oxidation. Therefore it would be splitting a hair to say that because oxygen atoms can form ozone molecules, oxygen has been oxidized (burned). Thus, I am on your side -- oxygen does not burn. It merely supports combustion.

Regards,
ProfHoff



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